William Byrd/Thomas Tallis: Cantiones Sacrae 1575

The one printed source of Latin church music in England is Cantiones quae ab argumento sacrae vocantur which Tallis and Byrd published in 1575 and dedicated to the Queen shortly after she had granted them a monopoly in the printing of music. Music printing in England had begun with the XX Songes of 1530, pieces for a secular market by Taverner and others which ranged from the bawdy to the devotional. Subsequent publications had favored Protestant devotional material, and had contained nothing of special musical value. On the other hand the Cantiones has seventeen important pieces by Tallis and seventeen already quite impressive ones by Byrd, who was some forty years Tallis's junior; and one gathers from introductory Latin verses that the publication was intended to bring the achievements of English music to the attention of the world at large--a world which had seen all the major sixteenth-century Continental composers in print. The standard of printing in the Cantiones is very high; many later publications are much less attractive and less clear. The source is also particularly authoritative musically, since Tallis and Byrd supervised the presentation of their own music.

Click on "Back" button to return